Nike+ FuelBand: the next evolution

Nike has launched a new product designed to encourage participation in all types of physical activity.

At an unveiling in New York last week, Nike CEO Mark Parker stated, “The Nike+ FuelBand is a way for Nike to further evolve the exciting possibilities of merging the physical and digital worlds. Nike has always been about inspiring athletes, and the Nike+ FuelBand will help motivate them in a simple, fun and intuitive way.”

The Nike+ FuelBand

The FuelBand will no doubt capitalise on the success of the existing Nike+ platform which this blog has covered previously: How Nike Turned Running in to a Game. Whereas Nike+ focused exclusively on runners, FuelBand will open the door to individuals who participate in other activities such as walking, dancing, athletics and team sport.

FuelBand is an accelerometry-based motion tracking system embedded within a wristband. The band measures time, calories, steps and a new type of currency: NikeFuel, a normalised score that awards equal points for the same activity regardless of the individual’s physical makeup. It’s an interesting step away from calorie counting which is a substractive mentality where you want to get rid of something. NikeFuel is an additive notion where the individual earns points through activity.

Data recorded by the band is synced with the Nike+ website (via built-in USB or bluetooth to a free iPhone app) with an interface that facilitates goal setting and review. Professional cyclist Lance Armstrong, also present at the event, said that NikeFuel provides “real information and numbers to show how much people are doing all day, every day. That’s what will get people challenging themselves to do more and better their own scores. It’s a tool to get people more active.”

Information is vitally important to monitoring one’s training progress whether its losing weight, increasing speed or stamina. However, just being able to monitor and review general activity consistently will be a huge step forward. Currently gyms are full of machines that already track your heart rate, calories burned, distance travelled etc. But to export that data you have to use similar branded devices, insert a USB or write it down and then manually add it to a personal spreadsheet or online tracking system. What is missing is a simple process/interface to measure, record, view and then interact with that data. FuelBand may provide that solution.

One can assume that integrating Nike Fuel to the existing Nike+ platform will allow users to utilise social networks, a feature that remains very popular with its runners. With rates of obesity rising in many cities around the world NikeFuel has an opportunity to create a very positive environment where a community of users can motivate, support and encourage each other as they work towards their individual and perhaps collective goals.

The following is an entertaining video from Nike about what activities count and what don’t, when trying to earn Nike Fuel, and features the campaign tag line: Life is a sport, make it count.

You’re reading a post written by Natalie Marinho, originally posted for www.recognitionpattern.com 

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